THEIR SEPARATE WAYS
Jessica Simpson moves on, purchasing a home of her own shortly after filing divorce papers, while her ex, Nick Lachey, hopes for a quick resolution. But both sides agree on one thing: Details of their settlement should be kept private
A week after filing for divorce in Los Angeles Superior Court, Jessica Simpson has begun a new life of her own—purchasing a $3 million Beverly Hills home and moving in. “She’s happy to have a house that’s hers,” says someone close to the pop star. “This is the first time she’s making her own decisions.” Among them: keeping the divorce proceedings as quiet as possible by requesting the case be assigned to a private judge and not aired in open court. Some details are known, however. Simpson asked that she not pay alimony to her soon-to-be ex-husband, Nick Lachey though it’s not clear that Lachey ever wanted it. Says a source close to him: “There is no squabble, and we are hoping for a quick and private procedure.” Which may be why Simpson did not oppose a judge helping settle issues such as distribution of property, according to the divorce papers filed on Dec. 16. As for the split, Lachey “knew it was coming,” says the source. “He was hoping for the best, but as time went by he was prepared for what became inevitable.” He’s also doing a little image boosting: Joined by Wilmer Valderrama and USC quarterback Matt Leinart, Lachey visited the pediatrics ward at Cedars-Sinai Hospital, handing out presents. Says the source: “He loves visiting these kids.”
Catch of the Day
Christina Applegate may be in the middle of a divorce from actor Johnathan Schaech, but she seems to be learning that there are other fish in the sea. Her latest catch? Alaskan fisherman and aspiring photographer Lee Grivas, whom she met in the fall through a dancer in her Broadway show Sweet Charity. “We’re very happy with each other,” says Grivas, 24. “I like making her smile and she likes making me smile. It’s really innocent and fun.” (Schaech, who filed divorce papers Dec. 5, seems to be moving on too: He was partying Dec. 17 at the Las Vegas club Seamless. The couple officially separated six months ago.) Applegate, 34, plans to head back to Los Angeles after Charity closes Dec. 31, and Grivas has a fishing boat to hop on in Alaska this month. But “we’re really good friends,” says Grivas, “so we’ll keep in touch.”
Return of Romance?
He gave up the Peter Frampton do. She gave up the denim overalls. So it’s no wonder Michael Bolton and Nicollette Sheridan are looking better today than back in their romantic heyday, from 1992 to 1995. But are they an item once more? In 1994 Sheridan said she hoped to have “the ultimate relationship” with Bolton. And now? Reps did not return calls, but a recent encounter suggests the ultimate hint: The pair dined at Los Angeles’s favored—and most public—date-flaunting spot, the Ivy.
Eva: No Insult
Eva Longoria doesn’t plan on letting a minor scrape with the law go away quietly. Police said she yelled an obscenity and an ethnic insult (“He’s just a Mexican bike cop”) at a San Antonio officer who asked her boyfriend Tony Parker to move his car on Dec. 24. Longoria called that report “highly inaccurate, defamatory, false and fraudulent.” Now, says her rep Liza Anderson, she plans to take legal action to set the record straight—while stressing that she loves and respects San Antonio and its police. A department spokesman says two of three officers at the scene heard Longoria’s alleged off-color remarks. Parker, the San Antonio Spurs star, was issued citations for impeding traffic and failure to produce a Texas driver’s license.
For Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban, there’s no place like Nashville for the holidays. Fresh from celebrating Thanksgiving in the country-music capital (joined by both sets of parents, on hand from Down Under), the couple shared a Christmas Day stroll along a nature path in the city’s Cheekwood Botanical gardens. Two days later Urban, 38, who has a home in Nashville, and Kidman, 38, popped into a local Starbucks, keeping wedding rumors swirling with Kidman still sporting the diamond ring she has worn since November. After ordering (black coffee for him, green tea for her), the couple staked out a table near the back where they chatted for nearly an hour, holding hands, nibbling on cake and sharing a newspaper. “She read the funnies,” says one employee. “And they signed some autographs.”
Reese’s Early Days
Reese Witherspoon is a true child of the eighties. The 29-year-old Walk the Line star kicked up her heels—and side ponytail—for a shoot at a Nashville studio back when she was a burgeoning child model, ca. 1987. (She began her modeling career at age 7.) It looks like Witherspoon really is legally blonde.
ANNA LENDS A HAND
Tennis star Anna Kournikova, 24, visited Hurricane Katrina victims in Biloxi, Miss., last month on behalf of Boys & Girls Clubs of America. She shared a portion of her trip diary with Scoop.
It has only been a few months since Katrina and the devastation is still everywhere you look. It is hard to believe that the next hurricane season starts in only six months.
My first stop was the Forest Heights [Boys & Girls] Club in Gulfport. This club was not completely destroyed, although by the looks of it you would never know. The only thing left was the outside walls, a few support beams and a couple of toilets.
As I walked down a narrow path I was haunted by all of the things I had seen. A young boy’s football helmet with the name “Caleb” on it, a wooden train, a doll. It was truly heartbreaking.
Mississippi seems to have been lost in all of the chaos surrounding New Orleans, but I can tell you that the people of the Mississippi Gulf Coast have not lost their spirit. They have rallied around each other to bring back their communities stronger than ever.
Oprah‘s Midair Drama
Even the rich and famous can hit travel snags. Case in point: Oprah Winfrey, whose private Gulfstream jet was forced to make an emergency landing Dec. 26 when the pilot’s window cracked en route to Maui. The pilot was able to land safely at Santa Barbara airport. Early reports indicated that a bird was to blame, but since the crack occurred at the plane’s cruising altitude (over 30,000 feet), “it’s unlikely a bird was involved,” Santa Barbara Fire Department spokesman John Ahlman tells Scoop. “Unless it was wearing an oxygen mask.” Luckily for the talk show host, who was traveling with boyfriend Stedman Graham, oxygen masks were not needed on board either. “We see these things pretty frequently,” Ahlman says of the cracked windshield. The plane will be grounded until the window is repaired. As for Winfrey and Graham, “they were in good spirits,” says Ahlman. “And they went on their way.”
The Family Stone‘s Luke Wilson
Luke Wilson stars as Dermot Mulroney’s laid-back brother in The Family Stone, one of several films (Old School, Anchorman) that earned him membership in what critics call the Frat Pack—actors, like older brother Owen, Will Ferrell and Ben Stiller, who make bankable comedies that guys will see. Scoop asked Wilson, 34, about the clique.
Tell us about the Frat Pack. Does it really exist?
Owen and Ben are friends, and me and Will are friends, and Jack Black. I’m glad to be included in it, because those are some of my favorite guys.
What makes you laugh?
I can go for real dry humor, or I can go for super goofy stuff. I know the best times I’ve had in the business are being around people like Will Ferrell, genuinely funny people who make you want to kid around.
In the post-Christmas spirit, what’s the weirdest gift you ever received?
Owen would just fill out one of those magazine subscription [forms], like for SPORTS ILLUSTRATED or National Geographic. He’d hand that to you, and it looked really official, but you knew that somehow you weren’t going to get those issues. Pretty clever.
Have the Wilson brothers ever sought the same girl, as in Family Stone?
It’s oddly never happened, and people don’t seem to believe it.
You went to an all-boys high school. Did it affect your outlook on women?
Yeah, I would say it did. I was probably behind the learning curve. It was a real them-and-us mentality. I don’t mean it in a negative way, I just mean women were this great unknown. Especially for someone like me who didn’t have sisters.
We hear you’re pretty good at golf.
I’m okay. I’ve got a lot of fundamental problems, but if I can get everything working together then I can put together a good score.
Who is the best celeb golfer out there?
Probably Mark Wahlberg. You know who’s pretty good? Bill Murray.
Could you beat him?
I don’t think so.
ON THE BLOCK
PRICE: $4.99 million
PLACE: Los Angeles
Among the good things that happened to Ben Affleck in 2005: He married Jennifer Garner and moved into her home; became a dad; and is selling the Brentwood house he bought in November 2004 from Melissa Etheridge for about a $500,000 profit. The 4,500-sq.-ft. residence features five bedrooms and partial ocean views.